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How to Get Help Paying for College

With the cost of college rising each year, it’s refreshing to hear about the companies and organizations that are stepping up to help pay the way.

Below, we’ve highlighted a couple of options for students, whether you’re able to work your way through or heading straight to college from high school.


The first stop for all students is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known by its acronym FAFSA. Once filled out and submitted to the US Department of Education, this form helps all students—regardless of income—determine eligibility for federal financial aid for college.

It’s also used by a number of universities to award other types of financial support, such as state-specific aid, scholarships, grants, or work-study programs.

A FAFSA is required each year you’re in school, so be mindful of deadlines. For more information, check out the Department of Education’s FAFSA website.


Earlier this year, Starbucks made headlines when they announced their new College Achievement Plan. Available to both part- and full-time employees, the coffee company offers full tuition reimbursement to those looking to earn their bachelor’s degree, all through Arizona State University’s (ASU) online program.

According to the Starbucks College Achievement Plan website, “Partners admitted as a junior or senior, according to ASU’s admission requirements, will earn full tuition reimbursement for each year of coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree. Freshmen and sophomores will receive a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid toward the foundational work of completing their degree.”

And notably, the company does not require a commitment from its employees after graduation.

For more companies willing to shell out the cash for college, peruse Business Insider’s convenient list of the 15 Companies That Will Help Pay Your College Tuition.

The University System

Besides the general collegiate atmosphere and oft-touted work/life balance, many universities and colleges offer a tuition assistance program (TAP) to their full-time employees, at all levels, as part of their benefits package.

This can take the form of tuition reimbursement for courses related to your job, or as is the case at Harvard University, Ivy-League classes at a greatly reduced rate, sometimes as low as $40 per class.

Employees who take advantage of the TAP at Harvard attend classes through the highly regarded Harvard University Extension School. There they can learn new skills, earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or gain a subject-area certificate—all for the fraction of the price.

If you can score a full-time job on a college campus near you, it’s an incredible bonus you shouldn’t ignore.

The Best Places to Work Lists

Not only will you find great healthcare coverage and a lively culture, but many companies on nationally ranked “Best Places to Work” lists likely earned that recognition by also offering some sort of tuition reimbursement or continuing education fund to their employees.

Both Fortune and Forbes put together a list of top places to work each year, highlighting companies all over the United States. And it’s worthwhile to check with your local business journal to see if they laud a particular company for a good working atmosphere and benefits, or if there’s a business you’re interested in that’s repeatedly highlighted for something good—whether it’s an investment in the local community, increasing growth and employment, or smart business moves or partnerships.

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